NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WKRN) – Tennessee State Republican party chair Ryan Haynes chose his words carefully in response to House Republican Caucus chair Glen Casada’s comments this week that he “was sounding the alarm” on Syrian refugees.
“With regards to Rep. Casada’s specific comments, no, I don’t agree with everything he said,” Chairman Haynes told News 2 on Thursday.
Haynes, a former colleague of Rep. Casada’s in the Tennessee House until becoming party chair earlier this year, did not get more specific, but instead said, “I agree with Governor Haslam’s statement.”
Moments after Casada held a half-hour press availability with reporters Wednesday where he repeated earlier statements of potentially “rounding up” Syrian refugees for federal immigration officials, Governor Bill Haslam issued a statement that said in part, “We must not lose ourselves in the process. If we abandon our values by completely shutting our doors to those who seek the freedom we enjoy or mistreating our neighbors who made it here after enduring unimaginable hardships, the terrorists win.”
On Thursday, Casada was not backing away from his comments which included using the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation to “observe” some of the immigrants who have arrived in the state over the past few months.
The House leader appeared on several national news outlets after the comments sparked comment across the country.
On Wednesday, Rep. Casada stressed he was only speaking for himself while saying his suggestions come from recent reports that the FBI director can’t vet all recent Syrian refugees for terrorist ties and that ISIS leaders say their fighters are already in Europe.
The refugee debate will be heard in upcoming hearings now scheduled for both the Tennessee House and Senate.